Law Blog

Can I Legally Use The Image of a Famous Person (Who’s Dead)?

Can I Legally Use The Image of a Famous Person (Who’s Dead)?

Entertainment, Lanham Act, Name, Image, Likeness, Trademark
Every so often, I'm asked by clients and prospective clients alike whether or not it's permissible for them to use the name, image, or likeness ("NIL") of a celebrity or famous person who now happens to be deceased. This question was asked of me the other day by clients who wanted to put the face of, oh, let's just say, Che Guevara, on an article of clothing with some meme-worthy text. Delightful, right? I mean, what's the big deal; he's not going to complain, right? The Right of Publicity Unfortunately, while the famed Marxist revolutionary might not be around to complain, his estate or heirs likely are. There is a thing in the law known as a person's right of publicity, which basically deals with one's right to monetize or…
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Yes, Your Startup Needs to Have Its Own Insurance.  Here’s Why.

Yes, Your Startup Needs to Have Its Own Insurance. Here’s Why.

Business Formation, Corporations, Insurance, Limited Liability Company
Rarely a month goes by that a new founder or business owner I’m meeting with asks me some version of the following: “But we already formed a corporation (or LLC), why do we need liability insurance?” or “Aren’t my personal assets protected as it is [by the legal formation of the company]?” In this blog post, I’ll try an answer those questions, explain the specific types of insurance that a new startup should consider, and how to get started. Doesn't legal formation of my business protect my personal assets? Well, yes and no. First off, let me be absolutely clear-- operating any business under a validly formed legal entity is one of the first things you should be doing as an entrepreneur who’s about to actually market and sell goods…
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Sponsor Seeks to Cancel Deal with NFL’s Jaguars in Clownish Lawsuit

Sponsor Seeks to Cancel Deal with NFL’s Jaguars in Clownish Lawsuit

Contracts, Sports
Are you ready for some frivolous litigation?? “Are you ready for some frivolous litigation??" A Georgia-based, roof replacement company apparently is, and its Complaint filed earlier this month against the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Florida offers lessons for both companies thinking about sponsorship deals with their local professional sports teams, as well as the franchises or team organizations themselves. The JJSA According to RoofClaim.com's complaint, the Jags had tried to get RoofClaim as a team sponsor in the past, to which RoofClaim had apparently responded with something along the lines of "thanks but no thanks". Things turned, however, with the Defendant's splashy hiring of celebrated former Florida and Ohio State college coach Urban Meyer this past Summer. The hiring apparently had enough sizzle to convince…
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Things to Watch Out For in An Amazon FBA Letter of Intent

Things to Watch Out For in An Amazon FBA Letter of Intent

Business Sale, E-Commerce
You’ve worked hard to build your Amazon FBA business but have decided it’s time to ride off into the sunset, or at least move on to your next venture. You’ve identified a suitor and, after some initial meetings, say they'll be sending you their “LOI”. You're not sure what an LOI even is, what is normally in there, or what you as a seller r should be on the lookout for. In this post, we cover what an Letter of Intent is, why it's so important, key things to watch out for, and why understanding what should (and should not) be in it is critical to your chances of a successful sale of your Amazon FBA business. Ben’s Note: Although I will refer to Amazon FBA throughout this article, the…
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Can I Really Be Forced to Sell My Domain Name?

Can I Really Be Forced to Sell My Domain Name?

Domain Names, E-Commerce, Trademark, Trademark Infringement
Is it possible for the owner of a domain name used for a business to be forced to sell their domain name? Earlier this month, I received a frantic e-mail from a business owner (to protect the innocent, let’s call her "Debbie"), who had received a threatening e-mail from another business owner (whom we’ll call "Penny"). Debbie’s e-mail went something like this (edited by me for brevity and client confidentiality reasons): I just learned another party has filed to trademark the name of a website I have owned now for several years. She says I have to sell her the domain name. What are my rights? Since this question (in some form or another) is often posed to me, I figured it might be the perfect time to relate some…
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